For generations, the giants have ruled from the blocks. Today? After the game is an afterthought. But there remain some who preach the forgotten craft and seek its return.
In the summer of 2009, shortly after winning his fourth championship with the Lakers, Kobe Bryant flew from Los Angeles to Houston. From there, he drove west for an hour, passing suburbs and strip malls and traversing rolling farmland. A winding road took him to a set of iron gates and, at the very end, a gymnasium. Inside awaited the man Kobe had traveled across the country to see, a man Bryant believed could take his game to the next level.
Hakeem Olajuwon had retired seven years earlier, having won two championships and an MVP award with the Rockets. Though a dominant defensive force, he was perhaps best known for his graceful post moves, a series of spins, feints and fades that caught defenders off guard, leaving them trying to defend a man who, in a split second, had vanished . His signature shimmy has even earned his nickname, “The Dream Shake.”
After retiring, Olajuwon had purchased a 400-acre ranch near Katy, Texas and converted a cattle barn into a state-of-the-art gymnasium with a full-length NBA court. The gymnasium soon became something of a mecca for big, lead-footed men. NBA coaches and general managers called, begging Olajuwon to tutor one of their centers. (Demand was said to be such that teams paid upwards of tens of thousands of dollars per session.)
In Kobe’s case, he tracked down Olajuwon after the Lakers played the Rockets in Houston. “I want to go out this summer and work with you,” Bryant said. At first, Olajuwon couldn’t tell if Kobe was serious. But we are talking about Kobe. Yes, it was very, very serious.
Cover photo illustration of The Sporting Press. Cover photography by Greg Nelson (Jokic, Embiid), John Biever (Olajuwon), John Iacono (Abdul-Jabbar), Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images (Antetokounmpo), and Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images (James)
And so, later that year, Bryant stood under the hoop in Olajuwon’s gymnasium, listening as Hakeem covered the subtleties of the trade. How to feel the presence of a defender and react to the slightest weight imbalance. Like jumping when you get your entry pass, so that you’re on the move before you even land. How to use footwork and agility to build moves, just like a boxer builds a combination, jabbing and deflections.
Bryant caught on quickly—”the fastest student I’ve ever coached,” says Olajuwon—and began fielding moves that fall. Two years later LeBron James flew out and stayed for three days of instruction, hoping to learn how to punish smaller players on the block. (Olajuwon didn’t blame Kobe or LeBron.)
The fact that the two best players on the planet traveled to the Texas farmlands to train under Olajuwon, prospectors who climb Drop-Step Mountain to see the guru at the top, tells you how valuable these skills once were.
But that was more than a decade ago, and a decade is an eternity in the NBA days.
Slowly at first, and then all at once, the game evolved, migrating further and further away from the basket. The seven-footers left the trenches to roam the perimeter, throw threes, and create the dribble; the modern bigs aspired to be Kevin Durant, not Kevin McHale. Fewer people called Olajuwon. Now, he says, “Nobody posts anymore.”
In fact, the most prolific post-up teams today, like the Nuggets and 76ers, attempt only about six shots a game from the block, which is half the league’s average team in 2010. Meanwhile, even the three least-prolific teams of shooting today, ones that are generally pretty awful, like the Lakers, they throw 30 triples a game.
Some, perhaps most, would argue that it’s not so bad, that the current championship of speed and space is an improvement over the centers of observation that methodically back down defenders, like the typewriter giving way to the keyboard or landline phone to cell phone.
But with all the evolutions, something is also lost. Sometimes it’s just a nuance: the satisfying metallic click of an old typewriter. Other times it is an entire culture or language.
So what now of the post game and the true believers who still teach and preach it? I flew to Houston to find out what it’s like to see something you love fade away.
In early November, I took the same trip Kobe and LeBron once did, following I-10 west of town. Olajuwon has generally kept a low profile in recent years and his name is rarely mentioned. Landmarks are fewer. After all, we see echoes of Magic, Michael and Larry in today’s game. But Hakeem? It’s like a relic from another era.
Olajuwon, 59, once dominated with a wide range of moves in the post. Now, he says, “No one publishes.”
Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated
It might be hard to imagine today, in the days of Victor Wembanyamas and the Bol Bols, but eons ago, in the Pleistocene era of the NBA, the big men ruled from the block.
Back then, a coach‘s job was simple: Send your giant as close to the basket as possible, then supply the ball. George Mikan was so dominant that the NBA doubled the key width from six to 12 feet in 1951 in an effort to push him further from the edge. A decade later, the league added fours in hopes of slowing down Wilt Chamberlain, who was two seasons removed from 50-point average, not by a stretch of games, but for the season, while rarely attempting a shot outside of eight feet. (The ploy worked, sort of. His scoring average dropped to just 34.7 ppg.)
Chamberlain’s successor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, set the all-time record for largely deploying one graceful skyhook after another, the same song repeated for an entire career. During a stretch ending in 1980, a field goal return center won the league MVP in 20 out of 21 seasons. (Oscar Robertson heroically bucked the tide in ’64.) Because of this, teams vied ruthlessly for the talented centers and took a chance on the untalented ones, hoping they could be successful. As the saying goes: You can’t teach height. But you can teach post moves, and during that era, a man became the post oracle.
Pete Newell had no intention of taking the role; it just happened. A Navy man during WWII, he became a decorated coach, guiding the United States to 1960 Olympic gold and racking up victories at Cal. Such was his intensity that, during the season, Newell survived on what seemed like little more than coffee and cigarettes, regularly losing 20 pounds. Doctors told him he would die young if he continued like this, so, after a stint as GM of the Lakers, he retired and instead began tutoring players informally, beginning with two forwards, the Lakers’ Kermit Washington and Kiki VanDeWeghe, then at UCLA. The workouts were unlike any other man had ever experienced.
For three hours at a time over the summer, in a Los Angeles gym, Newell taught a crash course in the dark arts of the postgame, reframing a physical game into a mental one. He taught that players were not just right or left handed, but right or left handed as well. He explained that basketball is a game of counters and there is a contrast to everything. As long as you waited for your opportunity, it would present itself. “It sounds simple, but it takes a while to get the hang of it,” says VanDeWeghe.
The word is out. In the years that followed, others called Newell: Bill Walton, James Worthy, Bernard King. Abdul-Jabbar also came, hoping for help. Defenders sat on his left shoulder, waiting for the skyhook. Then Newell helped him create a new counter – a left-handed hook. Even if Abdul-Jabbar only shot 5% of the time, that would be enough to give defenders pause.
NBA big men used to rule from the wall, but the game has moved further away from the basket.
In time, Newell formalized his approach to Pete Newell’s Big Man Camp, which he held for three decades. (Newell never made any money. “It was his way of giving back to the game,” says Pete Newell Jr., his oldest son, a decorated high school coach.) If you were an NBA GM and had a big draft pick and lanky, you managed to send him to Pete. The same was true of the stars, including Olajuwon, who Newell considered one of his best students. When Shaq arrived, he was frustrated that defenders had pushed him before the catch, so Newell taught him a fast break, pivoting to the baseline. (Patrick Ewing famously refused to go to Big Man Camp, despite pleas from the Knicks, and New York sportswriters later wondered if that was why he never developed elite moves for the inside posts.)
In 2000, the National Association of Basketball Coaches began giving out the Pete Newell Big Man Award to the top collegiate frontcourt player. The following year, Newell staged its first tall women’s basketball camp. Even in Newell’s late 1980s, enterprising parents like Deborah Ledford, the mother of high schoolers Brook and Robin Lopez, came calling, driving from Fresno to Los Angeles seeking guardianship for her children.
Even so, the game was already changing. Three years before Newell died in 2008 at age 93, he complained to the Los Angeles Times that a generation had been “overtrained but undereducated.” One wonders what he would think of the era that followed.
Exactly how and why the postgame fizzled out is a matter of debate. Some date back to the addition of the three-point line, in 1979, originally installed as another anti-big man measure. Others point to the long-term effect of rule changes. Fed up with low-scoring wrestling matches, the NBA in ’94 began strictly enforcing existing handguard measures on the perimeter. Now, a winger like Michael Jordan could attack without an enforcer’s grappling hooks in the flanks. But a big guy with his back turned? “You could still hit it,” says Jeff Van Gundy, who has coached a string of big centers, from Patrick Ewing to Yao Ming to Dikembe Mutombo.
Eight years later, in 2002, the NBA went one step further and legalized zone defenses, effectively eliminating a player’s airspace in the post. Where once coaches had to choose whether to send a hard double team to the catch, now the assistant D could float nearby or sandwich a big guy before he even got the ball. Even the simplest post-entry pass has become dangerous.
Then, of course, there’s the Dirk-ification of the game. This goes back to FIBA’s super wide trapezoidal lane, forcing big Americans away from the circle. (As you can see, the history of basketball is largely a history of penalizing tall people for being tall.) This encouraged international bigs to learn the game by tackling, away from the basket, and so Dirk Nowitzki fathered Kristaps Porziņģis and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokić.
Sure, you might think, but we all know what really killed the post-up, the stake in its old-school heart. The NBA teams have finally come to terms: 3 > 2. Circle analysis may have started on the fringes, espoused by Caltech grads like Dean Oliver, and monitored in the free bedrooms by hobbyists like Roland Beech, but by the mid-2010s, the revolution was complete. Three-pointers and free throws were the new holy grail. Mid-range shots and post moves were anathema. By ’15, Grantland’s Zach Lowe was wondering if, in his zeal to make the game more exciting, “the league has inadvertently killed the return-to-basket game.”
No player’s career better illustrates that sea change than that of Newell’s alum Brook Lopez. First at Stanford and then with the Nets in the early 2010s, Lopez starred in blocking, fielding a series of soft half hooks and bank jabs. For the first eight years of his NBA career, Lopez scored 20 goals per game while rarely, if ever, attempting a three-pointer. “I loved posting,” Lopez says. Then, in the summer before the ’16-17 season, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told him to start practicing his threes. That season, Lopez threw five threes a game, or two more than Larry Bird in any year of his career. Lopez adapted and survived, but others struggled. (RIP, Greg Monroe’s NBA career.) The Warriors asked bigs not to post but to set screens, roll and become pocket passers, preaching, “on time, on target.” Centers who couldn’t shoot became a liability, as did those who couldn’t defend on the perimeter on a rally, leaving them marooned against the likes of Trae Young and Steph Curry, throwing 26 feet off the dribble. By 2019, The Ringer said, “The post-up is more dead than dead in the NBA.”
Spacing has become the new currency of the league. Everyone had to be able to shoot. “It’s like mining for gold or panning for oil,” says Bucks assistant coach Mike Dunlap. “Everyone is fighting for more room to operate, because the players are so fast and long.”
Dunlap has a unique perspective. He started helping Newell with his workouts in the early 80s, carrying towels for Washington and VanDeWeghe, then stayed with the coach at Big Man camps. Dunlap is as close as you get to a living disciple of Newell’s not named Newell. Yet now he coaches Lopez and Giannis, two prime examples of the evolution of the game. “The game was east-west,” says Dunlap. “It’s north-south now.”
That’s not to say that post-up proficient players don’t still exist in the NBA; it’s just that the teams don’t give them many opportunities. This season, only one player, Jokić, has scored more than five times per game. To find other post-up specialists you often have to look to the back of a team’s dugout — we see you, Kenneth Lofton Jr. — or, more often, his point guards. (In particular, Jalen Brunson and Marcus Smart are good at exploiting discrepancies.)
For the most part, though, the post-up is, as Van Gundy puts it, “dying a pretty quick death.” While guards like Kobe once hoped to acquire the skills of big men, now big men, like Joel Embiid, are looking to coaching gurus like Drew Hanlen, a former collegiate point guard, to help them play like Kobe.
Every summer, you see footage of awkward NBA bigs like DeMarcus Cousins and Steven Adams throwing threes. The result, as Van Gundy says: “Kids are taught this idea of positionless basketball, and they’re not taught how to play low post.”
And why would they want to learn it? The 6’6″ stakes player in high school can score a ton of points, but playing on the block also effectively reduces his chances of playing in college and beyond, where he’ll likely have to move to the perimeter.
This feeds into an ongoing cycle, as Newell Jr. sees it: Players today don’t recognize how to play and switch to the post. Why not? Because they are not taught. And why aren’t they taught? Because no one wants – or knows how – to teach it anymore. “Most coaches [across the sport today] were perimeter players when they played,” he says. “So they can’t see the game through the center’s eyes.”
In fact, ask around and there’s no present-day Pete Newell Sr.. This is not surprising. supply and demand, etc. If the Warriors only post twice a game, the pace they have this season, why should they focus on teaching it?
A guru remains, of course.
At 11, Olajuwon meets me at the gate of his ranch in a black SUV and leads me down a cracked driveway, past a chicken coop, to his gym. Inside, mementos fill glass cases in the foyer, not far from a plaque with Koranic verses that Olajuwon finds inspiring. (Raised in Nigeria, he reconsecrated to Islam in the early 1990s and has a second home in Amman, Jordan.) To the left is something of a press room, with stools and a long table. On the right, the men’s and women’s changing rooms.
At 59, Olajuwon is fit and fit, and her hair is cropped close to the scalp. His laughter is deep and warm. There is a lightness about him. He is a gracious host and, to my surprise, alone: no attendants or helpers. Just Hakeem, his gym, and a cooler of drinks he’s brought.
Olajuwon leads the way across the field to a couple of chairs. Let’s start from the beginning. How he grew up playing handball, football and table tennis. As a Lagos State basketball coach recruited him, he then pointed to the paint and said, “This is your jurisdiction,” a dictate he took to heart. Back then, says Olajuwon, a big man was “like the police.” He explains, “When you’re driving on the freeway, and suddenly you see someone checking the speed limit and everyone slows down, and then you see the police car and you’re like, ‘Oh, OK.'” Take a break. “That’s shot blocking.”
From the University of Houston, he joined the Rockets. He worked with Newell and learned to take advantage of his quickness and agility. He developed counters to his counters.
After retiring, he began teaching. A series of players arrived: Emeka Okafor, Marcin Gortat, Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire. He says working with Kobe has been especially rewarding. “He loved the post! He said every time he plays, he hits the big ones on the post and they’re like, “Get out of my seat!” And they push him out, but he wants to stay there.
Due to Bryant’s skill and footwork, the pair could move straight to advanced moves; the following season, Kobe executed one flawlessly when the Lakers played in Houston, ridding himself of Shane Battier for a fadeaway and then winking at Olajuwon, who was on the sideline.
Post moves were once so integral that stars like James sought tutelage.
As for James, he showed up months after losing in the 2011 Finals to the Heat. “What his game lacked was the post,” says Olajuwon. “I told him he should use his influence. Just muscle and tightness against the guards. James started from scratch, but Olajuwon says he took it to the next level in three days. “It’s been a joy to work with guys like that, who are already amazing on their own and want to add something to their game.”
These days, Olajuwon only coaches Rockets players, part of an exclusive deal he signed with the team. During practice, and when time permits, he mentors interested parties, including 6′ 11″ center Alperen Şengün.
That means he looks at today’s stars from afar and sees the possibilities. Take Embiid. Olajuwon likes him and has given him advice, but has questions. “It has all the moves, but exploiting the moves is different. Why would he shoot threesome? asks Olajuwon. “He has the edge every night, and if I have the edge, I’ll wear you out.”
But three? “This is settling! When I’m tired, I settle. You are not satisfied when you try to win. You don’t start the game by establishing!
Olajuwon loves watching Golden State (“that ball is moving!”), and Curry in particular. But he also wonders what would happen if they had to face real bigwigs. “Does Golden State’s system work well and why? Because no one is punishing them,” he says. “They have Draymond Green guarding some real big shots. He’s a really small forward. two more!
Olajuwon imagines Shaq today and beams. “It would be a monster! Who will stop him? (I got a similar reaction from Van Gundy, who calls Shaq “the greatest defense distorter to ever play the game,” as well as his brother Stan, who coached Shaq in Miami.)
Next up is Giannis, whom Olajuwon generally loves. But oh, the missed opportunities! Brings up a recent game where Antetokounmpo spun the backline for a dunk. “Nice move”, evaluates The Dream, “but the pace was not right. The idea was right and he was successful, but he spun off the wrong leg.
This, Olajuwon says, is the next level, hidden from most, like a secret stage in a real-life video game. The next time Giannis makes that move, Olajuwon explains, the defender may know he’s coming, and so Giannis won’t get away with athleticism. But turn your left foot. . .Let’s go to court so Olajuwon can prove. I recruited a former collegiate and overseas center as my training partner. At 6’7″ and 235 pounds, Tom Poser is built to slam inside. But that’s not the only reason I asked him to come.
Poser came of age during the post game’s heyday. As a tall and dexterous teenager in San Anselmo, California in the 1980s, he modeled his game after that of Olajuwon. While working on Broadway Video, he would watch the Hakeem the Dream instructional video, watch a move, pause it, and then head up the driveway to mimic it. Poser went to UCSB and then pursued his basketball dream. He played for the Salina Rattlers in the IBA, making $1,000 a month. A team of Austrian professionals signed him, then ran out of money. So Poser made his highlights on VHS, bought a ticket to Switzerland, and traveled from city to city, sleeping in hostels, handing out tapes and asking for screen tests. Sure, he was strong and worked hard, but that’s not what kept him around. “Every success I’ve had is due to learning those moves,” she says.
When he stopped chasing the game at 28, Poser pursued a career in commercial real estate, but he never let go of his passion, running big men’s clinics, coaching in the fields and, now, at 46, overseeing a CYO program and fielding his streak of post moves and counter moves in adult recreation leagues (which is where I first met him). Poser is the kind of guy who, if you buy him a beer, is likely to use it, along with a salt shaker and his cell phone, to start diagramming his correct location after entry. All of which is to say that, were you to look for devotees of this particular and peculiar craft – standing with your back to the basket, isolated in a moment and within the geography of the court, tasked with overcoming the human behind you – you would be hard to find someone busier. My hope is that by bringing these two together, I could better understand their shared passion.
Olajuwon still likes to pass on his knowledge to others, like Poser, so they can master the craft.
Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated
On the court, Poser is already warming up with crab dribbles. Olajuwon takes an immediate interest. “Why do you dribble with two hands?”
Poser explains: better belay it to climb strong. Olajuwon replies: no, no. You should use one hand, like in a game.
And with that, they leave, talking angles, positioning, and movement progression. Poser starts demonstrating Olajuwon’s moves to Olajuwon, and as he does so, Olajuwon turns to me with a huge grin. Expected to go through the motions for a reporter, now this? “This boy is a master!” he says, chuckling. “It’s beautiful!”
They head for the baseline, interrupting that move by Giannis. In fact, they spend five minutes talking solely about foot placement on the baseline. (Olajuwon: “This foot here, let’s turn – whoosh! – and then jump in.”) Then come the fades and pivots. (Poser: “What I find is that if I dive and then you engage, this whole other thing comes out.”) Olajuwon stresses the importance of reading an opponent’s body. (“That’s a surprise move. If you challenge her, then I misread.”)
It’s all top notch. Their geeky glee is evident, like two Tolkien nerds discovering, Hey, someone else can be fluent in Elvish! Every once in a while they remember me and turn around to explain something, tone it down like I speak a different language, which I guess I do. I feel a bit like I’m barging into someone else’s high school reunion.
Pretty soon I’m on the block. Usually the NBA wears down big men: their knees and backs go first, then they gain weight. Not Olajuwon. It remains fluid and graceful, twisting and pivoting. (His only workout, he says, involves lunges and low chair squats.) He wouldn’t look terribly out of place if you pinned him in an NBA game for five minutes and asked him to protect, say, Kevon Looney. At one point he demonstrates how to create space and dips his shoulder at Poser – boom! – who flies back a foot and then turns to me, amazed. Is this guy 60 years old?! When 30 minutes are up, Olajuwon is really warming up. He’s calling the ball to shoot wing jumpers, drenched in sweat, Poser bouncing and urging him. Eventually, Olajuwon pleaded exhausted and headed to the sideline. She dispenses some smoothies from her fridge and starts telling stories.
Talk about post-up guards like Gary Payton and Tim Hardaway. (He says he was told to double Hardaway in the mail.) He talks about the defenders who have been giving him trouble. Not Anthony Massone. (“Too small.”) Not Mark Eaton. (“Hard, but you could handle it.”) No, the really challenging ones were heavy and mechanical. Like it . . . Greg Aquilone.
“Greg Kite?” Poser asks. “I didn’t expect his name to come up today.”
Olajuwon nods. “And Frank Brickowski.”
Poser and I look at each other. Then Olajuwon says something even more startling, something that makes me think: “I’ve never liked being a center.”
The dream? Olajuwon was an MVP and two-time champion, but admits he didn’t like playing center.
In fact, Olajuwon says he totally understands why the game ended up like this. “The traditional big man game is boring!” he says. “I didn’t want to play center. I wanted to handle the ball like guards. When I played in the summer, I took the rebound and didn’t want to pass guard. I’m tearing it down! I’m freelancing! It’s more fun. You are more involved in the game.
Indeed, Olajuwon is one of the old school bigs that would probably translate best in today’s game: long, long, athletic, agile. “It would be just as dominant,” says Stan Van Gundy. One can imagine Olajuwon handling on the perimeter, Eurostepping to the basket.
But in his day that was not allowed. He wasn’t even allowed to dribble: “Not even a rebound!” He says if he ever flew up the wing and a guard passed him the ball, his early coaches would immediately replace that guard. Message to Olajuwon: Go back to your cage! He shakes his head. “The moment the season starts, it’s back in the cage.”
He can’t help but look at the modern game and be envious of the freedom afforded to players like Antetokounmpo. Which brings Olajuwon to another modern big. The one who he thinks shows the way forward, who provides a glimmer of hope for the survival of the post-up game, perhaps not as the only thing but as a thing. Not just an afterthought.
“The Joker,” says Olajuwon. “I love the Joker!”
Ah yes, Nikola Jokić, product of the northern Serbian city of Sombor, the graceless son of an agricultural engineer, who grew up to be a graceless teenager and, eventually, arguably the best basketball player in the world.
In Jokić you can see the story of the game come to life: a big clumsy man who outmaneuvers smaller defenders with a series of post moves. But you also see the future. He shoots three not to settle but to complete his other moves. Play center point, a fever dream of Don Nelson in the flesh. He’s not only the big man with the best passing ever – sorry, Arvydas Sabonis – but also arguably the best passer alive. (No doubt LeBron would take offense at that statement.)
The main reason someone like Olajuwon loves Jokić is that Jokić does it all, not with overwhelming athleticism and strength, like Giannis, but with skill and timing. With counters for his counters. “He’s playing and you think he’s not serious, but he’s so effective,” Olajuwon marvels. “He doesn’t look strong, but I see him getting such a deep post position. I think maybe it’s the mismatch, but then he does the same thing against the bigger guys. His shot, his feints, are very difficult to time. You don’t know when it’s pretending and when it’s real. It has tricks!
Olajuwon nods. “It’s really him.”
This season, only one player, Jokić, has scored more than five times per game.
Indeed, despite all this talk of the death of the post-up, one could argue that we are currently seeing something of a renaissance for the big names in the NBA. Over the past four years, Giannis and Jokić have both won two MVP awards, with last year’s contest coming down to one giant center, Embiid, against another, Jokić.
This development may lead some, like Poser, to feel optimistic. Sports are cyclical, after all. Perhaps the post-up could still return to glory. He remains a force in the high school and college game, where someone like Drew Timme can dominate on the block. Why not in the NBA?
That would make someone like Jeff Van Gundy happy. He says he understands why the game has evolved: You can’t fight the math. “But it’s all so homogenized,” she says. Gone is the variety of offenses, from triangle to pole to movement. “Everyone plays the same style [and] whoever makes the most threes in a game wins.”
Van Gundy doesn’t think the game will change unless the rules do, just like it took new guidelines to bring postgame to its knees in the first place. Here’s an idea to diversify the game: literally create more space, to accommodate longer and bigger players and advanced defenses. Maybe add a few meters to the touchline: “and why not behind the scoreboard, while you’re at it?” he says. Ultimately, he dismisses it as near-impossible, due to lost revenue from reduced courtside seating. Or how about, he suggests, eliminating the three corner below the break? So you wouldn’t have two guys stationed in the corners like they were waiting for a bus the whole game.
No matter what, the days of the big bums are clearly numbered. Thirty years ago, Boban Marjanovic could have been an All-Star. Today, who’s to say that someone like Yao Ming wouldn’t be Boban? “I don’t think we’ll have many of the old big power centers anymore,” says Stan Van Gundy. “If you want a low post game, you’re going to need guys who can do both,” he says. “Go over there, but also defend in pick-and-roll and move your feet and cover some ground. And there aren’t many that get into the league.
Brook Lopez sighs when asked about the future of postgame. “Man, I would say it’s coming back and it might at some point, but the game has changed so much.” Tell us about a moment at the start of the season in the training room with your teammates. “Someone was talking about how Steph was posting the night before, to get a turnaround jumper. You look at the championship and you see me hitting deep threes and Steph posting high.
Stan Van Gundy is more optimistic, believing he will eventually come back. Already, he says, one can see, for example, how all switching defenses lead to mismatches that need to be exploited, which the Suns do well. Or how the Warriors use the post as a passing position. Or how the Mavericks post Luka Dončić, who may have the best footwork in the league, or how the Kings often use Domantas Sabonis as the centerpiece of their offense. Even in a league that’s all about three-pointers, you still have to make those threes. “Forcing defenses to double down or help, that’s never going to go away as a concept,” he says. “And depending on your team, the post-up could be one of the most effective ways to get two guys on the ball.”
So maybe that’s how the postgame will survive, not going back to how it was but mutating. Maybe evolution is just multifaceted. Perhaps the post play will become many things. The Guards will field him as part of their arsenal, as Jrue Holiday does today with the Bucks. The big names will use it to keep defenses honest for their face-up moves, like Jokić. And, sometimes, he’ll have his moment in the sun, like during a recent Bucks injury streak. Looking around his roster, coach Mike Budenholzer got an idea: There at the back of his somewhat dusty but still quite usable offensive closet was Brook Lopez’s postgame.
As the game evolved, Lopez became a perimeter threat. But he still knows his way around the block.
Michael Gonzales/NBAE/Getty Images
Then, for one glorious stretch in November, Lopez feasted on the mail. He lost 25 to the Thunder, then 24 two games later. “I gave them the full repertoire,” Lopez laughs. “My teammates called him ‘Brooklyn Brook'”. Part of its effectiveness no doubt had to do with the relative newness of what the Bucks were up to; teams now scout Lopez as a three-point shooter, not a beast on the block. “They probably don’t even remember which shoulder I’m going to shoot my jump hook over.” (It’s the left; always the left.)
He counts Lopez among those who long for the postgame glory days, even as he prides himself on being an all-around player. “I won’t lie. I miss it,” he says. “I look at it one-on-one, going against someone and seeing if your arsenal of moves could beat theirs.”
And this is where it’s worth trying to distill what, exactly, is being lost. For many, a post-up might just be a rather methodical offensive move in a generally unmethodical game. But to the enthusiasts? For them, the aftermath consists of dive hooks and underhand passes. It’s Tim Duncan’s elbow bank and Zach Randolph’s earth magic. It’s the defenders who stay low on the second, third and fourth feints, only to bite the fifth. It’s your dad backing you into the driveway, old and slow now but still nailed to that up-and-down reverse. It’s play and life, distilled into its simplest, most primal form, stripped of all noise: just two humans facing each other, each hoping to outwit the other.
Trying to master the craft – finding joy in trying – perhaps that’s the appeal for men like Poser and Olajuwon. Take what happened at the end of our time together in Houston.
An hour from Olajuwon had turned into two, then three. He had to get back to the city, to his day job in real estate. (“My new favorite move.”) Yet he couldn’t help it.
As we stood on the concrete patio behind his gym, surrounded by fields of hay and cornstalks, he watched as Poser once again tried to perfect that spin move, one where he twirls around the baseline without going out of bounds.
Olajuwon got the ball and showed. “See? Very simple.”
Olajuwon frowned. He took Poser’s shoulders and rotated him 20 degrees towards the baseline. “Here’s what you’re doing wrong.”
“Ahhh!” Poser said. He swung his inside leg in a tighter arc.
“Yup!” Olajuwon said. “Then it becomes easy!”
The old center smiled, watching as Poser tried again, and again, and again, drilling the move into his muscle memory, fitting another piece into the puzzle. Keep the flame alive. “Now,” said Olajuwon, “take him back with you.”
Who is number 11 on the Denver Nuggets?
|11||Bruce Brown of B. Brown Nuggets: Record season-high in 20-point game Bruce Brown of Bruce Brown Nuggets: Record season-high in 20-point game||sf|
Who is the greatest Nuggets player of all time? Let’s take a look at the top 10 players in Denver Nuggets history.
- 8/10 Carmelo Antonio.
- 7/10 Dikembe Mutombo.
- Fat leverage 6/10.
- 5/10 Bobby Jones.
- 4/10 David Thompson.
- 3/10 Dan Issel.
- 2/10 Alex English.
- 1/10 Nikola JokiÄ
How many Hall of Famers do the Nuggets have?
They have three players in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and a string of NBA records. When the franchise joined the NBA in the 1976 NBA-ABA merger, the team name was changed to the Nuggets as Houston already owned the rights to the Rockets.
Are Chicken McNuggets 100% white meat?
Wondering what McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets are made of? Chicken McNuggets® are made with all white chicken meat and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. This may interest you : The State Department pursues “people-to-people” diplomacy through video games. There are 170 calories in 4 pieces of Chicken McNuggets®.
Are chicken nuggets 100% meat? Maybe you don’t want to know: The Salt Doctors in Mississippi dissected the nuggets of two national fast food chains and found that they’re only 50 percent meat, at best.
What percentage of a Chicken McNugget is actually chicken?
A chicken nugget contains 61% bread and fat, 39% chicken. Read also : Top 10 favorite video games of all time countdown: 7th place.
What are McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets made of?
Ingredients. As of August 1, 2016, the ingredients in the US are as follows: boneless white chicken, water, salt, seasoning (yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavors, safflower oil, lemon juice solids, dextrose , citric acid), sodium phosphates.
Is McDonald’s 100 percent chicken?
Contrary to popular belief, McDonald’s chicken nuggets are made from 100 percent chicken breast meat, according to the fast food giant. But chicken only adds up to 45 percent of a McNugget, as the rest of the recipe is a combination of batter, seasoning and oil.
What did Harley Quinn call Joker?
Harley Quinn began giving the Joker the nickname Mr. J when she was still a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum. She also often calls him Puddin. She usually only uses terms of endearment for the Joker, while the Joker often verbally abuses her.
How is the Joker also known? Renowned as Batman’s greatest foe, the Joker is known by a number of nicknames, including Clown Prince of Crime, Harlequin of Hate, Ace of Knaves and Jester of Genocide.
Is the Joker called Puddin?
COMICS LEGEND: Harley Quinn calls the Joker “pudding” because he gave her a cup of pudding when they first met.
What is Harley Quinn’s catchphrase?
Harley Quinn â âCall me a softie, I dare you!â Harley Quinn â âI’ve been known to be quite irritating. I’m just warning you.â
Why are Denver called the Nuggets?
Becoming the Denver Nuggets The winning choice was “Nuggets,” in honor of the original Nuggets team in Denver from 1948 to 1950, his last year as a charter member of the NBA. Their new logo was a miner “discovering” an ABA ball. Goldberg and Fischer in turn sold the team to a local investment group in 1976.
What is the nickname of the Denver Nuggets? Denver Nuggets: Why “The Joker” is one of the worst nicknames in the NBA.
What do the Denver Nuggets stand for?
Nuggets refers to the 19th century mining boom in Colorado, when people flocked to the area, hoping to make their fortunes by mining for gold and silver nuggets.